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3 Creative Ways To Make Math Class Fun

For many, math class brings back workbook memories of nights huddled around the kitchen table frantically checking the evened numbered answers with the back pages. It seems rather repetitive. A child must be taught a concept, shown how to do it, and then bludgeoned over the head with examples. How else will they learn?

To add insult to injury, there is the inevitable math class back row critic who raises his or her hand and slyly asks the question, “So when are we ever going to use this is real life?” Yes, mathematics can feel like it has barely graduated from the era of dusty chalkboards and one-room school houses.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

With some creative energy and a bit of classroom participation, Biteslide can transform an incredibly important life skill and class into projects that feel relevant and fun.

Here are three creative ways to start using Biteslide in conjunction with your Math curriculum.

Biteslide Helps Students Visualize And Create Word Problems

In terms of real life problem-solving, word problems are an excellent way to bring the importance of mathematics into every day situations. Often riddled with numerous operations and superfluous information, word problems offer children the chance to put their workbook skills to practice. However, for some students, internally visualizing word problems can be a problem all its own.

Biteslide can offer children an opportunity to watch or recreate word problems for easy solving. Below is a simple example of a word problem slide show.

For a child, breaking down word problems into bite-sized ideas helps them think in sequential steps. The best part about Biteslide is that it can be used to introduce a problem that will be covered or it can be used by the students to work through a problem that is already troubling them. The bites can be collected together by the teacher ready for the students to use. All the student has to do is drop the bites straight onto their slides.

Biteslide Can Help Students Learn About Daily Mathematics And Current Events

For the class skeptic, Biteslide can a fun and engaging way to apply the class math lessons to every day events. Learning about percentages? Have the students track the price increase of various products such as gas, food items, and school supplies using an interactive slide show presentation.

Use the YouTube tab in the slidebook to find videos about bridge construction and trigonometry. It can even be used to present the context in which certain mathematical principals were contrived.

Below is an example of a short slidebook presentation that uses a video bite to explain the Pythagorean theorem.

Biteslide Can Create Interactive Problem-Solving And Review

One of Biteslide’s best features is the ability to share presentations with other teachers and classmates. This opens up a world of opportunity concerning both review strategies and interactive problem-solving.

Consider, for a moment, a multi-stage math problem that can be solved by creating a slidebook presentation that gets passed around from student to student. The slidebook can then be presented to the class and, if there is a mistake, corrected on the spot.

The problems can be passed amidst one class of students or shared with other classes for both review and fun competition. Students can submit slides with questions and concerns, review problems, or images and clips that have helped them understand a particular concept.

It is a completely different way to review for a math test and it can center around very specific and problematic areas. The best part is that students can participate in building slides and sending ‘bites’ that help others learn. Who could argue with that?

Math doesn’t have to be a dusty subject – especially since it is so relevant to our daily lives. Interactive programs like Biteslide can entice students to take responsibility for their own learning process. With Biteslide the possibilities are endless and the effort will certainly be worth the result for you and your students.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, what are you waiting for? Register for your free account here.


Student Travel Journal Image

Social Studies and Geography open up a child’s mind to the many cultures, climates, and people in our world. With technology, students are able to talk to people from and see pictures of places that once seemed impossibly far away. Biteslide can offer teachers and students an opportunity to create “road maps” and “travel journals” that help students review special places they have learned about while also increasing their contact with the cultures, histories, and people they have learned about in their textbooks.

Common Core State Standards covered by this project

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1
    Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3
    Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7
    Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.10
    By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.2
    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6
    With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.7
    Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.10
    Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3
    Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7
    Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9
    Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6
    With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.8
    Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

Materials Needed For This Project On A Weekly Basis

  • Access to a Computer Lab and Biteslide.com
  • Relevant Textbooks/Social Studies Notes
  • Writing Utensils
  • Optional: Cheat Sheet of Relevant Questions

Activity

The students can work alone or in groups to create a yearlong “travel journal” that highlights different geographical locations that they have learned about in their classroom. The students should be able to extend their textbook knowledge into secondary websites that are informative and appropriate. The teacher might want to include or create a “cheat sheet” that the students can use all year to help them pursue decent and relevant information. Questions on the cheat sheet could include:

  1. 1. What types of animals live here?
  2. 2. Does this city have any special buildings?
  3. 3. If you had only one hour, what would you visit and why?
  4. 4. Was something invented here?
  5. 5. Is someone famous from here?

While the students are clipping and creating slides, the teacher should supervise and discuss proper sources and crediting for photographs.

At the end of the year, the students should be able to present their travel journal to the class and to their parents. As an extension, teachers should print out individual slides to pull together a bulletin board that can be changed throughout the year.

Modifications

For students with special needs or who need extra monitoring, it is easy to add editors to any individual slide show. Students can collaborate with one another to produce the best results.

ESL students should be encouraged to add words that they understand into the slide but they can also convey what they have learned with well-placed pictures and collages.

Biteslide makes it easy to store and retrieve yearlong projects. There is no classroom clutter and the project is easy to integrate into computer class and testing weeks. With so many voices crowding the Internet, teachers can use programs like Biteslide to help their students become responsible web-based researchers.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, you can sign up for free here.

Kathryn Rose is an full-time educator turned full-time mom and writer focusing on parenting and educational topics. After completing her Elementary Education Certification through North Park University, she taught middle school Social Studies in Chicago, IL. She still teaches part-time and loves putting together engaging lesson plans and activities that keep kids engaged and moving.


Student writing in notebook
The Common Core State Standards Initiative demands that students be able to read and understand more complex texts, write arguments and persuasive pieces with greater dexterity, and present their findings in short-term projects mirroring the tasks that will be asked of students in both college and career.

Listening and public speaking skills, as well as the incorporation of media into presentations, are also important key points to take away from the Common Core State Standards Initiative for teachers to embrace and include in their lesson planning.

Let’s accomplish all of this by incorporating Biteslide into a New York State 6th grade English Language Arts lesson within a larger unit on personal identity and personal choices with challenging texts from contemporary figures.

The lessons will last for 7 Instructional days (not including student oral presentations).

Here are the instructional foci of the unit in alignment with the New York State Common Core English Language Arts and Literacy Curriculum:

  • Incremental reading and writing skills in alignment with CCSS instructional shifts.
  • Understanding and working with textual evidence.
  • Understanding Web 2.0 tools and working with multimedia evidence.
  • Understanding and utilizing Biteslide.com as a presentation tool to convey information and argument.

And the focus texts for the lesson:

Steve Jobs’ Stanford University 2005 Commencement Address

If- by Rudyard Kipling

Day 1 – Introduction to unit, themes

Objective

The student will be able to recognize and understand how personal choices influence positive and negative outcomes in their daily lives.

Activity

Brainstorm choices for positive living. Contrast with choices which led to negative consequences.

Homework

Preview If- by Rudyard Kipling. In writing, develop your ideas about what the poem might mean in light of our discussion on personal choices today.

Evaluation

Class participation

Day 2

Objective

The student will be able to understand how people develop personal rules by which they live and how they communicate those rules to others. The student will demonstrate how personal choices are developed, how they lead to positive and negative outcomes, and how they can be communicated to others.

Activity

Read If- by Rudyard Kipling for understanding including text analysis at the paragraph, sentence, and word levels. Discuss student impressions (from homework) and clarify meanings. Students bullet their lesson introduction notes and Kipling impressions/notes in a three-column notes table with column headings labeled “Kipling,” “Jobs,” “Wonderings.”

Homework

Preview Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address. In writing, develop your ideas about what the speech might mean in light of our discussions on personal choices.

Evaluation

Class participation

Day 3

Objective

The student will be able to understand how people develop personal rules by which they live and how they communicate those rules to others. The student will demonstrate how personal choices are developed, the need for personal choices, how they lead to positive and negative outcomes, and how they can be communicated to others.

Activity

Read Steve Jobs’ Stanford University Commencement Address in small groups. Students bullet their main idea points from the reading in their three-column notes table. Whole group: Discussion of findings and wrap up.

Homework

Reread the Kipling and Jobs’ texts. Use two different colored highlighters to distinguish between personal choices and outcomes directly in the text.

Evaluation

Three-column bulleted table based on readings; Marginal notes and complexity+correctness of highlighted items in texts.

Day 4

Objective

The student will be able to synthesize the text, notes, and graphic organizers to compose an informative essay.

Activity

Students follow the writing process to compare and contrast the Kipling and Jobs’ texts against the learning objectives in response to the questions, “How and why do people develop rules by which to live, and how do they communicate those choices to others?” as well as present their own idea for ONE personal choice they made or will make for a better life.

Homework

Continue writing the informative essay.

Day 5

Objective

The student will be able to synthesize the text, notes, and graphic organizers to compose an informative essay.

Activity

Students will present their rough drafts and participate in individual writing conferences with the teacher to reflect, edit, and improve upon their draft. Students finalize their essays independently and make final edits, proofreading with a peer.

Homework

Prepare essay for final draft/publishing.

Evaluation

Writing process, final essay

Day 6

Objective

The student will be able to locate multimedia resources as evidence in support of their essay.

Activity

Students will utilize the Internet to locate relevant multimedia resources including images, video, and music. Students will upload their essays and digital evidence in support of their argument from the Internet and create a slidebook presentation of their choosing on Biteslide.com.

Homework

Continue working on Biteslide slidebook.

Day 7

Objective

The student will be able to locate multimedia resources as evidence in support of their essay.

Activity

Students will utilize the Internet to locate relevant multimedia resources including images, video, and music. Students will upload their essays and digital evidence in support of their argument from the Internet and create a slidebook presentation of their choosing on Biteslide.com. Students will also prepare an oral script with which to present their slidebooks.

Homework

Finish oral presentation script.

Evaluation

Biteslide.com slidebook presentation and appropriateness of multimedia evidence connections

Suggested broad lesson differentiation techniques:

  • Think.Pair.Share for brainstorming, activities
  • Pair above average reader with average, average-average, average-low for language-demanding reading activities.
  • Allow English language learners (ELL) to illustrate their responses or utilize incomplete phrases in English instead of grammatically perfect, developed paragraphs for homework.
  • Make accommodations for special education (SPED) students as indicated on their Individualized Educational Plan and teach to their visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or tactile preference.
  • Lessen the quantity (not quality) of final products for ELL and SPED students.
  • Create buddy research and writing pairings for ELL and SPED students to reduce frustration, maintain focus
  • Seek translated or electronic versions of materials when necessary.

Common Core Standards Assessed

RI.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.6.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

W.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

W.6.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.6.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Running track

Kathryn Rose is an full-time educator turned full-time mom and writer focusing on parenting and educational topics. After completing her Elementary Education Certification through North Park University, she taught middle school Social Studies in Chicago, IL. She still teaches part-time and loves putting together engaging lesson plans and activities that keep kids engaged and moving.

For the lone teacher, the implementation of a productive and enriching lesson plan can be an exhaustive and worrisome endeavor. Sure, your school district might have set-up a basic framework that meets benchmarks and standards but, like every educational checklist that teachers have to deal with, there are certainly those students that “fall through the cracks.”

Whether they entered into your classroom already reading below their grade level, struggle with a crippling learning disability, or just don’t invest themselves fully in school, finding activities that engage the more challenging student can feel like walking the tight rope in a failing circus tent.

At the very base of the learning pyramid are the foundational skills of reading, assessing, and internalizing information. For many students, being able to express and share what they have learned gives them an opportunity to further extend important classroom content.

Technology can offer an interesting development in what can feel like a losing battle.

Yes, kids love their social networking sites and chat sessions with friends, but computer-based programs might be the landscape change needed to provide students with authentic opportunities to learn.

Coupled with engaging assignments that have a personal or creative touch, many children would relish in the opportunity to breakaway from their textbooks and apply what they have learned to an organized and shareable project.

More so, tasks started on the computer are easy to store and retrieve for later use making them the perfect medium for projects that can showcase a students progress throughout the school year.

They can easily interact with archived ideas, ask themselves questions, view their growth, and share their achievements with others. Secondly- special projects can be fun and can offer a change of pace for both the student and the teacher.

Programs like Biteslide make it easy for teachers to integrate a variety of curriculum into student-driven projects. Students can create slides that integrate textbook learning with outside resources that can be found online and then clipped or cached for later use.

It offers them opportunities to assess content as they strive to put together something new and personal. They get to be the teacher and share, in their own words, what they have learned in the classroom.

While programs like Biteslide are perfect for review and one-time use projects, Biteslide is also an excellent resource for those teachers looking to have assignments that extend over an entire school year.

With Biteslide, it is easy to store information and clips for later use. The entire project is retrievable and printable. It can offer your students a special time during the week to hone in on computer skills that will take them the distance while also reinforcing curriculum learned from the previous week.

My next few blog posts will include lesson plans that can help you extend your use of Biteslide throughout the entire school year.

Some of the lessons are easy and will simply teach your students the basics of online slide presentations. Other projects will hopefully give you an idea as to how to extend your classroom curriculum into a yearlong Biteslide presentation that will be fun to make and reflective of a student’s progress throughout their year in your classroom.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, sign up for free here.